Here's a round-up of the latest editions to my wardrobe and, as everything is secondhand, it's the most exciting form of recycling. To accommodate my finds I had a bit of a bedroom tidy up and did some sums. I'm not sure of the total amount of items of clothing I own but just six were bought new from high street retailers. Everything else was either purchased from Indian fair trade companies, handmade by me using vintage fabric or bought secondhand. After further investigation, out of a grand total of 30 items of footwear, 50% were pre-owned and just two of my bags were bought new. All my underskirts are secondhand as are half of my socks, most of my tights and three out of my six bras. I buy the best quality knickers I can afford (M&S or La Redoute) wash them at 30°C & line dry them which means they last for ages. I've got 22 pairs of pants, the newest being two years old and the oldest I've had for over a decade.
I love shopping, which is why I chose to make a career out of it. I adore trawling eBay for hidden gems and the thrill of anticipation at getting up at the crack of dawn to trudge around car boot fields; the buzz from rifling through rails of tat to unearth pure gold in charity shops & discovering beautiful artisan-made textiles on my travels in India. My expectations are never high yet I'm rarely disappointed. Every garment in my wardrobe tells a story, the rush of adrenaline when I spot something beautiful on a charity shop rail or crumpled up in the bottom of a suitcase at a car boot sale, an item listed in an incorrect category on eBay which I watch anxiously for a week hoping against hope than nobody else spots it, a one-of-a-kind, perfectly fitting artisan produced dress found in a shop I'd only popped into to escape the punishing heat of the Indian tropics.
|WEARING: Vintage Chinese embroidered jacket (car boot sale) worn with 1960s Dollyrockers silk maxi (eBay, 2011), original 1960s green suede go-go boots (a gift from Vonda, a blog reader)|
I hate it when I overhear someone being complimented on an outfit and to hear the response "This? It was only from ______" (fill the blank with a high street shop of choice). I don't want anything in my wardrobe to be only from somewhere, like an apology. My clothes may be recycled, they've had at least one previous owner but I'm proud of everything in my wardrobe. They'll never be an only, they all have a history & a tale to tell.
Take this jacket. We'd been stock-hunting at the car boot sale for ages on Sunday before we saw anything remotely interesting. Just as I was starting to get despondent I caught sight of this vintage Chinese jacket out of the corner of my eye. I couldn't hand my £1 over fast enough. Not only does it match my silk Dollyrockers maxi perfectly but also compliments Ebbie, our 1970 VW 411 LE Variant Type 4.
Despite the numerous campaigns highlighting the damage fast fashion is doing to our planet (HERE) it doesn't appear to have made much of an impression judging by the mountains of cheap high street tat in the Staffordshire fields yesterday morning. In fact I think the problem is getting worse. Most of the traders we saw peddling their unwanted gear had so much of the stuff that they'd simply dragged their overflowing black sacks out onto the grass and left the public to sort it out. Even at four items for £1 nobody seemed interested meaning that it will inevitably be dumped at a charity shop and then, as the chazzas are already drowning in discarded fast fashion, it will probably get sent to Africa where our cast-off clothing has contributed to the collapse of the traditional textile industries (see HERE) or, if the sellers can't be arsed to drive to their nearest shop, it'll be dumped in landfill where those plastic-based synthetic garments will still be rotting down when we're long dead (see HERE).
If you don't think our buying decisions have an effect on the fashion industory then read this excellent article Stop buying crap, and the companies will stop making crap. Make no mistake, we, as consumers, DO have the power to eradicate the brands that are destroying the planet and exploiting their workers.
|WEARING: Vintage bastard massive sleeved maxi dress, bought from a charity shop last week.|
I read countless excuses given by bloggers for buying cheap new fashion as opposed to shopping secondhand first I haven't got the time, there's nothing available in my area,what's the harm of buying a few things when everyone else is doing it?....I could argue till I'm blue in the face instead I choose to unfollow any blogs promoting fast fashion or sponsored IG pages - it may sound harsh but liking or commenting just serves to encourage the rampant consumerism. If they unfollow me and I get fewer visitors then so be it, we clearly didn't have anything in common in the first place.
If there's no decent secondhand shops in your area go further afield. If you're in the UK have a look at the Find a Charity Shop section on the Association of British Charity Shops website and go on a road trip. As you know, we visited a popular tourist town an hour away last week and still managed to find some beautiful and reasonably priced clothes (including the dress I'm wearing above) despite the hoards of visitors. If you're short on time eBay is open 24 hours a day and, trust me, there's some incredible bargains out there if you look properly. Facebook is also brilliant for bargains and if you join your local selling group you'll be able to pick your purchases and save on postage costs.
Talking of eBay, here's a new-to-me Dollyrockers frock to add to my collection. British designer, Samuel Sherman's Dollyrockers label (1965 - 1975) was a range of hip & happening clothes showcased by George Harrison's then girlfriend Patti Boyd and a major part of Swinging London's Youthquake movement of the 1960s. Some vintage traders (not me!) charge between £100 - £200 for their dresses. This one was £20. Why so cheap? The auction finished on Sunday lunchtime when it appears most Brits are stuffing their faces and not hunting for vintage frocks. Stodgy roast dinners or psychedelia? I know which I prefer.
|WEARING: Vintage Dollyrockers dress worn with go-go boots (as before) and a vintage Indian rupee coin necklace I made myself|
I was thrilled when it turned up. I've got a yellow one in the same style but it's slightly too big (so off it goes to the stockroom.) This one is the perfect fit and was made to be worn with my 1960s lime green suede go-go boots.
|WEARING: Vintage Jody T of California maxi dress with Lotta from Stockholm clogs, 1960s Alfred Tricker Crafts stainless steel and snakeskin choker (car boot sale, 2010)|
You may remember this dress from a previous post. I found it on eBay last Autumn with a Buy-It-Now price of £8 and didn't have to think twice before clicking the Buy Now button. How I love a Buy-It-Now! There's an ILGWU label inside but no maker's name but a friend on Instagram tells me that she has the same dress in her collection and it's by Jody T of California. I found the 1970s Dolcis bag in the charity clearance shop last week for £3. I nearly put it in the stockroom, in fact I did - for about an hour. What was I thinking? It's perfect with my apple green clogs.
I love clogs. My heart belongs to Lotta from Stockholm (a Swedish family business producing handmade clogs for over 100 years, using sustainable wood) and I'm more than happy to buy them at full price but if I find other brands of clogs going cheap in a charity shop I'll always give them a go. Last year I bought some Swedish Hasbeens for £1.99 but they rubbed my feet to ribbons so last week I donated them back to the shop. Just as I was leaving I spotted these TopShop black nubuck clogs priced at just £2. Sold!
As I share a surname with the inventor of Sheffield Stainless Steel, Harry Brearley (1871 -1948), I've a bit of an affinity for the stuff especially the groovy modernist jewellery of the late 60s and early 70s. Emma, an IG friend picked up this collection from a car boot sale but didn't notice until she got home that most of the stones were missing from the choker. I offered to give it a home and substituted the abalone with some turquoise beads from my stash.
Of course, the main reason I spend all my time shopping is to keep Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique stocked up. Once the festival season kicks off we'll be on the road for two months so won't have any time to go stock hunting. Here's this weekend's additions:
|US Marine issue woodland camo smock; 1970s Winfield (Woolworths) western shirt; 1980s fringed suede jacket; 1970s dagger collared shirt by STUD; Bolivian waistcoat; 1970s Charles Anthony dagger collar shirt|
|Vintage Chinese silk brocade quilted dress; Chinese quilted jacket; 1960s Italian embroidered wool cardigan; 1970s suede mini skirt; 1960s Crimplene mini; 1960s knit mini; 1960s turquoise suede dress; 1980s brocade bustier; 1970s suede midi skirt|
Needless to say, the Kinky shed is bursting at the seams!
Right, I'm off to Wetherspoons in my new old dress shortly, putting a whole new spin on the saying, taking the recycling out.
See you soon!